Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Monday, March 29, 2004
I'm reading Richard Clarke's book. It's very good, particularly his riveting play-by-play of 9/11 inside the White House. It does come off as a bit self-serving, but then multiple corroborative reports paint him as the voice in the wilderness warning about terrorist threats well before 2001, so I suppose he's earned the right to a bit of told-you-so.

In any event, it should be quite obvious, even to those disposed to defend the Bush administration, that the only logical reason for Bush/Cheney '04 to focus on Clarke's motives for coming forward rather than rebutting the substance of his recollections is if they cannot rebut the substance of his recollections.

Furthermore (there is a point here, I assure you), as you may know, Bill Frist conjured the spectre of perjury by claiming that Clarke's classified Congressional testimony in 2002 contradicted his testimony from last week...and then conceded later that he didn't even know what was in Clarke's 2002 testimony...but that it should be declassified anyway, just in case. Clarke called his bluff and called for *all* of his 2002 testimony to be declassified -- not just those select portions which, cleverly shorn of context, could make him out a scoundrel.

Which brings us to...this post from Josh Marshall. It focuses on the following chilling paragraph from an NBC story:

U.S. officials told NBC News that the full record of Clarke’s testimony two years ago would not be declassified. They said that at the request of the White House, however, the CIA was going through the transcript to see what could be declassified, with an eye toward pointing out contradictions.

This is a truly shocking admission. I thought I was getting inured to the endless outrages, but apparently there was still a smidgen of idealism left to be violated. Marshall's analysis is a must read, but his closing paragraph more or less sums it up:

We're moving on to dangerous enough ground when the White House starts using the nation's intelligence agencies for explicitly domestic political purposes. But you know we're really in trouble when they don't even try to hide it.


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